Q: Dear Dr. BBQ,
I manage a BBQ kitchen and I find that if I smoke chicken and serve it right from the smoke, our customers think it is raw or not done because of the redness or pinkish color, especially by the bone. Now, I know it’s done by temp and time, and I also know what smoked chicken looks like, but if you’re not experienced with smoking, you might think it is not all the way cooked. I also find if I hold it till the next day after it is done, we don’t have this problem, but the chicken loses its crisp skin and a lot of moisture. Any suggestions on how to overcome this so I can serve it fresh from the smoker? I should say we use a split wog, fresh never frozen, about 1.5 to 2 pounds each.
A: Hello Hawgwash,
Those are some small chickens! I know more than one BBQ joint that has an explanation on the menu about the redness, but I never figured that would work. If I’m talking to a customer, I try to get them to look at the texture of the meat–obviously it’s cooked–but they usually still don’t believe it. I find if I let chicken warm up a bit before it goes in the cooker it helps reduce the redness. I’d also remove the breastbone, as it seems to get red pretty bad. Last but not least, cook it at a little hotter temp, not always possible in the pit.